Protein is essential for many bodily processes, including building and repairing tissue.
Protein is essential for many bodily processes, including building and repairing tissue. You use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Plus, your hair and nails are mostly made up of protein. It is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Protein is made of smaller components called amino acids, 12 of which are manufactured by the human body. Another 9, called essential amino acids, must be obtained from food.
A complete protein or whole protein is a protein that contains all of the essential amino acids.
All animal proteins are complete, including red meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy. Vegetarians will be happy to know that complete proteins can also be obtained through certain plants, such as soy, spirulina, hemp seed, amaranth, buckwheat, and my fave quinoa.
Foods can be combined to make complete proteins like pairing beans with rice or corn. There are other combinations as well. Beans and seeds, beans and nuts, and beans and grains will form a complete protein. When you eat hummus and pita bread, nut butter on whole grain bread, pasta with beans, veggie burgers on bread, split pea soup with whole grain bread, and tortillas with refried beans, you are eating complete proteins.
Fit's Tips: Recent studies show that the beans and the grains don't even need to be eaten at the same meal, so if you eat beans for lunch and rice with dinner, you've got yourself a complete protein. You may spread your food combination over a 2-day period.